01 Oct Will the Government Shutdown Affect Your Child’s Education?
In yet another display of political animosity, Congress and the Senate failed to reach an agreement and have shut down the government. While politicians continue bickering, the effects of the shutdown are slowly trickling down to every level of society. Some changes are apparent, such as the closing of national parks, while others don’t seem so bad right now, such as slowing work at the I.R.S. The longer this goes on, though, the more impact it will have on our lives.
One area which really doesn’t need any more problems is public education. Schools have been through one crisis after another with the recession, lower state budgets, and falling home values. Now they have to worry about how all of this is going to affect them and your children. According to a story in the Washington Post, the United States Education Department is planning to stop most of its operations under a plan which calls for 94 percent of its employees to be furloughed.
This could affect the funding which is sent to local public schools, as well as colleges and universities. In addition, students who receive Pell Grants or Federal Direct Student Loans could find that the payment of this money could be delayed. Also affected would be such programs as the Campus-Based Programs of College Work-Study and Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants. If the crisis were to end quickly there were probably be little real impact in any of these programs; however, if the stalemate goes on for any extended period, your child could be impacted.
The full consequence of this shutdown will be felt differently at each individual institution, depending on its private funding sources and student base. Colleges or students which rely on government funding would be most heavily hurt. If this goes on any longer, your child’s school will probably send you an update on what to expect.
This Is a Good Time to Reevaluate Your College Savings Plan
One lesson which can be learned from all of this is that many students and parents have come to rely heavily on the availability of government funding. It might be time to reassess that thought process, look at your individual college savings plan for your children, and bump up the scholarship application process. Whether your child is already in college or is looking ahead to college, now is the time to make your financial plan or review an existing one.